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Blind since birth, Lil had difficulty getting to medical appointments including annual mammograms. With help from a patient navigator, she learned to overcome the many challenges she faced with a breast cancer diagnosis.
Lil and Yasmine go to appointments together.Photo courtesy of Center for Community Health Improvement
A Mass General breast cancer patient, Lil has been blind since birth. Without assistance, she had difficulty getting to medical appointments, and her yearly mammograms lapsed. “Mammograms weren’t scary,” she says. “I wasn’t afraid. I just didn’t know where to start.”
A year ago, Lil began to feel thickening at the bottom of her breast. When a mammography van visited MGH Charlestown HealthCare Center, she asked a friend to accompany her to an appointment.
An abnormal finding quickly led to a follow-up mammogram at the Avon Comprehensive Breast Evaluation Center at Mass General in Boston. “Surprised is an understatement,” Lil says when asked about the experience. “My symptoms were minimal.”
Lil met with breast radiologists in the center’s Breast Imaging Program to understand her diagnosis, which ultimately led to a surgery under the care of surgical oncologist and center co-director Kevin Hughes, MD in the Mass General Department of Surgery. To guide her through her appointments and treatment, she was paired with an Avon Breast Care Program patient navigator, Yasmine Hung. Thanks to Yasmine, Lil says that she became more confident dealing with the many doctors, nurses and techs she encountered.
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Recently, Yasmine accompanied Lil to the appointment they were both waiting for - the one during which she found out that her mammogram was clear.
“Yasmine is not just my navigator,” Lil says. “She’s become my friend.”
Now, Lil encourages all women to have mammograms, “even though it may seem scary.” As Yasmine puts it, “Don’t be afraid. Screening tests save lives.”
Learn more about her story from the Mass General Center for Community Health Improvement.
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